Monday, February 25, 2013

Lists... and goals... and June Cleaver...

I am a very visual person. I have to have lists or pictures or texts that say "I know you told me you need ____ but can you email me so I don't forget?" So today, as it was after 10AM and I was still lounging around the house (don't tell my husband) I realized it was time to make some goals for 2013. Some of the goals, such as "finish [refinishing] that damned dresser" will be easy to mark off the list while others are more abstract, such as "be more trusting." The official list will be posted in my bathroom on a lovely fabric covered bulletin board that I easily see every day. #visual. (I love the inappropriate and obnoxious use of hash tags.)

If you follow my blog (you know, the one I post on twice a year...) you know that I've been in school at OIT for the last year. I felt very fulfilled by attending classes, turning papers in, and being handed back my A's. I took a term off to regroup and was getting ready to enroll until my therapist (what, doesn't everyone have a therapist?) said "are you planning on going back to work? (no.) Are you going to complete a degree? (no...) Then why are you going?" I said "because I like it! I get A's!" He then said "forgive me for saying this but your going to school is kind of masturbatory, isn't it? If you're not going to get a degree or planning a career, isn't it a waste of money? Will you still be going to school when you're 70 to fulfill yourself? Find something that you CAN do for years that makes you feel good and helps others." #sigh #he'sright #ihatethat. 

Since becoming a "stay-at-home-mother" I felt that being a SAHM was enough. The house is clean, laundry is caught up, meals are prepared. I considered myself a June Cleaver, minus the apron and then sprinkle in an occasional lewd comment. I looked around at my closest friends and was comforted that they are all SAHMs, too. But I recently took a closer look at my peers, wiped the sleep out of my eyes, and realized:

Carissa: stay at home mother and blogger. And volunteers at the school. And runs cub scouts.
Julie: stay at home mother and blogger. And has babies at home. Makes cool crafts & does graphic design until 2AM most nights.
Christy: stay at home mother and working part time at her kid's preschool. 
Cathy: stay at home mother and involved with school politics. And does a lot of church volunteer work and involved in sports. A runner.
Kathy: former stay at home mother who now works part time at a cool cafe, waiting tables.

If someone had to summarize what Amy was doing... well... my house is really clean?

IN SUMMARY: (this blog post has been wandering and random but I know where I'm headed, here...) It's time for me to make a little more of this life. There are people I need to meet, weight I need to lose, dressers I need to finish refinishing, and differences I need to make in myself and it's never too late to start. I'm even going to make some of that crap I've pinned on Pinterest. Watch me. I'm 41, now, and this life is short. Truthfully, I'm on the downhill slide. I want to make each day count, have no regrets, and create new habits that WILL fulfill me and make me the best person I can be. #i'mgonnabeawesome.

What are YOU doing to better yourself? What makes YOU feel more balanced and fulfilled? (come on, guys, I need more ideas!!)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pumpkin Bars, Friendship and Pinterest FAIL?

If you were to peek in my bedroom window at night, you'd be pretty disappointed. Most nights you'd find me sitting in my bed, zoning out on Pinterest. I'm assuming everyone is on board with what website I'm talking about?

 I click... and click... and click as I find DIY projects where I could theoretically create FAN-TAS-TIC holiday crafts with my children (It’ll never happen). Then I click... and click... and click... as I discover AMA-ZING recipes I intend to make that will WOW my friends and family (I don’t cook). I have “pinned” decorating ideas, favorite quotes, places to go and things to do.

My only issue is click... click... clicking... the computer off, going to the store, and purchasing the ingredients/supplies to make my life OH-SO-MUCH-MORE-QUAINT. I get so busy “pinning” my intentions that I fail to bring them into fruition.

That was until Carissa had surgery.

My dearest friend, the one who has been there with me through thick and thin. The one who has shuttled my children and been my movie date many-a-night. She’s the person who, when I had my own surgery, rounded up the other mothers and designated who would bring soup to me and when. When it was Carissa’s turn to go under the knife I asked what I could do to bring comfort during her recovery. She had one request: The Gingerbread Pumpkin Bars I had found on Pinterest.

  • Surgery Day: With good intentions I purchased the ingredients for Carissa’s treat. After school I kept my kids and her kids and along with other daily distractions, I didn’t get to making the bars.
  • Carissa’s post-op day one: I’m busy again. I had to do some interivews for the practice, had some personal appointments, and I just couldn’t get to the bars. The ingredients sat on the counter, mocking me and making me feel a little bit guilty. To comfort myself I got back on Pinterest and pinned ideas about strengthening my friendships.
  • Post-op day two: Carissa came to my kitchen demanding her bars and scornfully eyeballed the ingredients on the counter.
Two days post-baking & after 10 people have helped themselves

I opened the recipe on my laptop and began gathering the ingredients. As I was pulling everything together, Carissa started pouring and measuring what we would need to make our bars. Then I realized my floors were looking kind of bad so I got the broom out. Carissa continued to cut, measure and stir; occasionally asking me for a certain kind of bowl or spoon. After sweeping the floors I decided mopping would make them look even better! My friend seemed busy and distracted so I found some of my delicious Basil scented cleaning products and went to work. Before I knew it, Carissa was asking me how to set the timer on my oven. WAH-LAH! She had her bars and my kitchen looked & smelled PERFECT!

Pumpkin bars baked? Done. Kitchen cleaned? Check. Me being an amazing friend...? Maybe?
Eh... If Carissa was hanging out with me for my cooking she would have been gone a long time ago. Pin that.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Here's a SNAPPY solution!

Boy oh boy do I love this guy, right down to the dirt on the bridge of his naughty back-yard-digging nose.


Baxter has a few bad habits and one of those bad habits involves my two brand-new Pottery Barn couches.

Have you ever had a dog or cat that likes to sit on your couch cushions? (If you've ever owned a dog or cat in your lifetime the answer is "yes.")

One mouse trap per cushion. * 

Baxter is an intelligent, sensitive animal. Thankfully, he is observant enough that I didn't need to set the traps for him. He watched me closely as I set them, snapping my own fingers, and decided he didn't want any part of that.
* No French Bulldogs were actually harmed in this process.

And wah-lah! Dog-butt free cushions!! Once they know about the potential SNAP, you can eventually quit setting the traps- just place them on the cushions. After a little more time, the couch will no longer be an option for your furry friend & you can go "trap-free!"

It may not sound super friendly but IT WORKS! If you've had the same problem, let me know how that works out for you!

Monday, July 2, 2012

when the trail gets steep

Brooke (my amazing niece) has taken on the task of watching three SUPER nice kids this summer while their parents are working. She and I decided that we should take all five kids to hike "The O" this morning. For those of you who don't have hills or mountains where you live, often there are large letters on the side of the hills to make reference to the town or school below. (We had no hills in Memphis where I grew up; only heat and humidity.) The "O" sits high on the hill above OIT, the Oregon Institute of Technology-- where I go to school.

I haven't been to the gym in a month or so (I'll blame summer vacation) so I was thankful for the two boys and the French Bulldog who were lagging behind. My endurance isn't where it needs to be and the trail is pretty steep. As we were huffing and puffing I heard comments like "Mommy it's SO FAR up there" and "LAUREN is already there-- I can't do this!" (Notice that the comments were coming from my kid...) I held my head down and watched as I took each step and the drops of sweat were rolling from my forehead onto the dry cracked ground. As the adult, you have to be stoic even though my own mind was screaming "CAN YOU FEEL OUR CALVES?" 

I finally offered a bit of advice to the boys, "when I'm walking up a steep path, I keep my eyes down and focus on each step I take rather than looking ahead towards my destination." Corbin looked ahead, then at me, and said "why wouldn't you want to see where you're going, Mommy?" And I answered "because when you look ahead the destination can seem so far away and impossible to reach. When you watch your feet, you only have to think about where you're at and focus on finishing one step at a time." 

Following my advice, the three of us fell into a few minutes of silence as we watched our feet and forged ahead. I thought about the advice I had just given the boys-- 

don't focus only on the destination; carefully consider each step you take and eventually you'll reach your goal.

There are so many things in my own life where this advice could apply. I want to be a better person, a better wife, a more active mother, lose more weight, be more spiritual... And I have choices to make: I can glare at my goals and cry about how far away they are, I can lay down on the trail and pound my fists into the dirt and cry about how hot and tired I am, or I can put one foot in front of the other, and through endurance and determination I'll eventually be exactly where I want to be.

Baxter, Lauren, me, Corbin & OIT (in the background)

It's hard to be patient. However, I know that if I remain focused and take one step at a time towards my goal, the effort will only make me stronger and the view is TOTALLY worth it!